By Joseph Pratt

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The Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities (SCBDD) recently passed a measure to give a one-time salary adjustment of $700 for full-time, non-probationary, non-management SCBDD employees, to be disbursed before the end of the year. This bonus comes months after stating, through campaign promises, that there would be no extra spending or job creations should the 2015 levy pass last March, which it did.

The $1.9 million levy was to prevent the organization from being $875,634 in the red each year and to continue services.

The approved one-time salary adjustment will allow $700 for 60 employees, from janitorial staff to teachers. The new action takes $42,000 of funds to go directly to employees, a 2.2 percentage of what the levy will allow the organization come January.

“We made a lot of adjustments to make things work with the lack of funding that we had, but not cause a rift in the quality of services,” a SCBDD spokesman said during the levy vote. “Our goal, currently, is to continue to offer our high quality services without any extra spending.”

When asked about the organization giving funds to staff, after stating funds would go directly towards continuity of services and not towards extra spending, Julie Monroe explained that it was allowed, because it wasn’t a raise to their base salaries, but instead an offered one-time adjustment bonus.

Monroe stated that a handful of staff left recently and she needed to entice staff to stay.

“Yeah, the levy funds we got are definitely going towards the continuation of services, but we have to keep staff, too,” Monroe stated. “It is not like we gave them a raise on their base salary.”

Monroe stated that it is typical for schools to give a three percent increase every year, and the school has saved hundreds of thousands by freezing the increases. Monroe also stated that the one-time $41,000 bonus, to her, is a drop in the bucket and necessary to keep staff, so she doesn’t see it as extra spending.

“We had several staff, aides and teachers, leave to take positions in local schools. They were doing so because they got better compensation packages,” Monroe stated. “We do the best we can to retain good staff, because they have hard jobs. This was just a good token of our appreciation to our staff, who are, once again, not receiving an increase on their base [salaries] this year. Several people were very disappointed when the board said no raises.”

Monroe said she believes the decision could hurt the school when they run for a levy again, but she hopes that it doesn’t.

“I don’t see this as abnormal,” Monroe stated. “It would be abnormal if I gave a 10 percent raise. The three percent was something we gave every year, which we didn’t give the last two years, so it is all in how you look at it. It may hurt us and I understand that.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.